August was a blessed month for the Congregation of Holy Cross this year, with the nine Final Professions for the Province of East Africa on August 30 bringing the total for the month to 27. Previously, the St. Joseph Province in Bangladesh on August 18 had its celebrated its eight Final Professions, and the United States Province of Priests and Brothers its ten on 26 August.
The 27 Final Professions include 15 seminarians and 12 brothers, in a Congregation that professes by its Constitutions to be “a religious Congregation composed of two distinct societies of religious, one of religious priests and one of religious brothers, bound together in one indivisible brotherhood” (1:6).
The Final Professions, held for the first time at St. Mary’s Cathedral Rubaga in Kampala, Uganda, were historic for the Province of East Africa, as they were their first since being elevated to Province status on January 1, 2023. Of the nine professions, there were seven seminarians and two brothers.
Those who made their Final Professions were: Mr. Alinaitwe Douglas Godfrey, C.S.C., Mr. Balikuddembe Vincent, C.S.C., Mr. Isabirye Emmanuel, C.S.C., Mr. Kule Martin, C.S.C., Br. Sebugenyi John Marvin Kawooya, C.S.C., Mr. Joachim John Mwile Nganda, C.S.C., Br. Tugume Patrick, C.S.C., Mr. Ahimbisibwe Herimence, C.S.C., and Mr. Ahuniriza Innocent, C.S.C.
The Most Rev. Augustine Kasujja, who retired in 2021 as Apostolic Nuncio to Belgium and was the first black African to serve as a papal nuncio, presided at the Final Vows Mass and offered the homily. Fr. Cyprian Binaka, C.S.C., Superior of the Province of East Africa, received the vows of the seven seminarians and two brothers.
At the end of the Mass, Archbishop Kasujja exhorted the men who made their Final Professions: “We thank the Lord for He has been good to you from the day you started this journey. Always be prayerful, and also keep the vows you have made before the Provisional Superior.”
The following day, August 31, in the same Cathedral the seven seminarians were ordained to the deaconate, along with two of their brothers, Fr. Bunjako Charles, C.S.C., and Fr. Agaba Emmanuel, C.S.C., who were ordained to the priesthood. Both had made their Final Professions on October 28, 2022, and were ordained deacons on October 29.
The presider and preacher at the Ordination Mass was the Most Rev. Paul Ssemwogerere, Archbishop of Kampala. In his homily, he called on those to be ordained to “carry the cross to save others and yourselves. Be courageous and brave to be faithful guarantees of the universal church.”
Following both Masses, there was a long, festive reception that followed on the grounds of the Pope Paul VI Memorial Hotel. In addition to the Province’s own religious were many other religious, priests, and lay men and women who joined the families of the men professing Final Vows and being ordained in the celebrations.
Deacon Alinaitwe Douglas Godfrey, C.S.C., is a native of Hoima in Uganda. He professed First Vows on July 16, 2018. Alinaitwe holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theology from Tangaza University College. He also has an Advanced Certificate in Education from St. Andrea Kaahwa’s College in Hoima. During his pastoral year, he served at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church working with the youth and as bursar in the community. Alinaitwe sees community as a “mirror of God’s love, the best place to love, be loved and challenged to grow”.
Deacon Balikuddembe Vincent, C.S.C., was born in Masaka, Uganda. He made First Vows on July 16, 2018. He says, “The life of service, commitment, presence, humility, holiness and unconditional love form the basis of my understanding of the vocation to religious life.” As Assistant Bursar at St. Joseph’s Hill, and as Acting Director of Holy Cross Farms in Kyembogo, he has had great ministerial experience. Balikuddembe holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Tangaza University College and a Bachelor’s in Philosophy from Urbaniana University.
Deacon Isabirye Emmanuel, C.S.C., hails from Kumuli in Uganda. He pronounced First Vows on July 16, 2018. Isabirye graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Theology from Tangaza University College and a Bachelor’s in Philosophy awarded by Urbaniana University. Isabirye says prayer is central to his life and different life experiences reveal God’s presence to him. During his formation, he worked at St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church, Kyarusozi, Fort Portal, working with the youth and visiting and attending to the sick.
Deacon Kule Martin, C.S.C., comes from Kasokero in the Kasese district of Uganda. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Theology from Tangaza and holds a Bachelor’s in Philosophy from the Uganda Martyrs University in Nkozi. Kule professed First Vows on July 16, 2018. He assisted at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Sombetini, Arusha in Tanzania. He testifies that prayer transformed him into a self-giving person, as well as one who takes delight in being of service to others. Kule is grateful for his vocation as a Holy Cross religious.
Br. Sebugenyi John Marvin Kawooya, C.S.C., is from Nsambya, Kampala, in Uganda. Marvin made profession of First Vows on July 16, 2018. Marvin worked at Virika Hospital and recently at Holy Cross Parish in Dandora, Nairobi, visiting the sick and involved with small Christian communities. Marvin holds a Master’s in Business Administration from Makerere University in Uganda. He has a certificate in spirituality from Tangaza and a Bachelor’s in Social and Philosophical studies from Uganda Martyrs University in Nkozi.
Deacon Joachim John Mwile Nganda, C.S.C., comes from Machakos Diocese in Kenya. He professed First V1ows on July 16, 2018. Having worked in the prisons, with the youth at Holy Cross Parish in Bugembe, Jinja, and with the elderly at Kikuyu Parish, Joachim describes his experience of ministry as “a life-giving grace to him.” Joachim has a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Tangaza University College, as well as a certificate in Education and a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy from Queen of Apostles Philosophy Center in Jinja.
Br. Tugume Patrick, C.S.C., hails from Virika, Fort Portal, in Uganda. He is an industrious person who is committed and dedicated to the religious life. Patrick professed first vows on July 16, 2018. He holds a Bachelor of Education degree from Christ the Teacher Institute at Tangaza. He has an advanced Certificate in Education and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social and Philosophical Studies from the Queen of Apostles Philosophy Centre. Patrick has worked with the Holy Cross Family Ministries by facilitating seminars in schools and parishes, as well as coordinating large groups.
Deacon Ahimbisibwe Herimence, C.S.C., is a native of Mparo in the Kyenjojo District of Uganda. He professed First Vows on July 16, 2018. He taught at Audrey Veldman Vocational Training Center at St. Brendan Parish in Kitete. He did pastoral ministry at the same parish as youth chaplain. Ahimbisibwe holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theology from Tangaza University College and another Bachelor’s in Philosophy from Queen of Apostles Philosophy Center. He sees the mission of Holy Cross as carrying out the mission of Jesus.
Deacon Ahuniriza Innocent, C.S.C., is a thoughtful, soft-spoken and prayerful person who professed First Vows on July 16, 2018. He was born in Kyegegwa. He holds a Bachelor’s in Theology from Tangaza University College. He also earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social and Philosophical studies from Jinja Philosophy Center. He did pastoral work at St. Anthony of Padua parish in Nyasaka, Mwanza in Tanzania. At the parish, he worked with leaders of Small Christian Communities, visited homes and attended to the sick.Last modified: October 18, 2023